Spring leap for Wellington building consents

Wellington building consents hit 119 in September, almost double the levels seen in the same month last year, as national house building figures improve from a slump last year.

Building consents in the Wellington region were up by 83 per cent, or 54 houses and flats, compared with September last year.

Consents for the Wellington region have been running at more than 100 since June, when they hit 148. The first half of the year saw consents generally under 100 a month, aside from March.

House building consents in the Wellington region were worth $76m in September, the highest total for the past 12 months.

Kapiti Coast had 36 home consents in September, almost as many as the 39 in central Wellington. Canterbury consents also grew strongly in September, to 396, up 80 per cent on the same month last year. Monthly consents in Canterbury have been running close to 400 for the past three months.

The Auckland region had the largest number of total consents at 458 for September, up 50 per cent on the same month last year.

Nationally, building consents for September took a strong jump up, rising almost 8 per cent, compared with August.

In September 1,520 new homes and flats were consented, including 186 apartments according to Statistics NZ figures just out. Of those 115 were retirement village units.

The seasonally adjusted number of new dwellings consented, including apartments, increased 7.8 per cent. Excluding apartments, there was a 5.6 per cent increase in new homes.

Earthquake-related consents identified in Canterbury totalled $58 million, including 34 new homes.

In August, 1513 houses and flats were consented, up 1.9 per cent on July, seasonally adjusted.

Consent numbers had been slowly rising since the middle of the year, after racing up in March, by almost 20 per cent, then falling back again in the following two months.

The house building sector is gradually recovering from a dire year in 2011, when just 13,000 homes and flats were consented- about half the levels seen in 2007.

Economists estimate New Zealand needs about 20,000 new homes a year to meet demand. But during the peak of the housing boom in 2003-2005, about 30,000 homes a year were consented.

The trend for building consents rose during much of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, but has eased in recent months.

In September 2012 compared with September 2011:

  • Canterbury and Auckland regions had the largest increases in the number of new dwellings consented, up 176 and 152, respectively.
  • The value of residential building consents rose 45 percent, to $577 million.
  • The value of non-residential building consents fell 1.8 percent, to $314 million.